We are living in uncertain times where everything around us is in hues of gloom and despair. While companies have adopted many new policies to make a tectonic shift in the work culture, there is one area specifically that needs more attention by employers – employees’ mental wellness.
Employees, in the past year and a half, have struggled really hard to maintain a personal and professional balance, while dealing with the loss of their loved ones. Such a situation of helplessness has made it difficult for employees to focus on work while they grasp for some mental stability. While more people are on the verge of being pushed to the ends of severe anxiety, depression, loneliness, and burnouts, World Health Organization (WHO) has recently reported that 93% of the countries have halted or disrupted critical mental health care services.
The ground reality in India remains that there is a taboo around speaking about mental health, and for those who do, it is an expensive affair to bear. This is why as companies, there are many ways you can promote mental wellness amongst your employees. Let us check out 6 such ways.
Get help from your HR team and create an efficient employee resource group. Ask the group to conduct surveys and have discussions with teams to attain insight on the specific mental health problems that your employees are facing. With this information at your disposal, you can then create a mental health toolkit with customized solutions for your workers. This toolkit can contain helpful resources such as links to websites for employee assistance programs, contact details of mental health professionals who can help out the employees, etc.
Not only will a resource group prove fruitful, but it will also give a sense of support and solidarity to your employees who might be feeling isolated and helpless.
In a society where speaking about mental health is still a hush-hush topic, leaders of a company opening about their challenges can change the entire dynamic in the workplace. Companies should discuss mental health wellness and problems openly so as to destigmatize it and open avenues of conversation. Almost every employee is going through episodes of anxiety or panic right now, and creating a work culture where they can speak about it without the fear of judgement, can really be a great leap forward.
A safe space will allow employees to speak their hearts and unburden themselves of a huge deal of distress.
Working from home has its own challenges and affects the psychological being of a person as they might not always find it easy to get mental peace at home. Companies should provide access to mental health care as part of their policies. This can include healthcare packages containing details of counsellors, psychologists, and other alternatives as well as a confidential 24-hour support line that employees can reach out to in urgent situations.
Inculcate mental health care policies in your company keeping both current and post-pandemic work situations.
If your employees are constantly worried about the debilitating situation at home, it will affect their mental health and productivity levels. As a company, you can be the bigger person, and incorporate benefits plans that include services for your employee’s dependents.
How appealing is the idea of giving employees a day off solely dedicated to improving their mental health and wellness? Well, sounds pretty good to us. Normalize mental health days so that employees can understand the importance of prioritizing their psychological needs and actually work on themselves mentally.
Just how employees ask for sick leaves and holidays, there should be an option for them to choose a day just to recharge themselves and unwind. This will give them a breather and they will be able to resume work with more zest and energy.
Before all these above-mentioned ways reach your employees, you need to first train your team leaders to be open to addressing mental health challenges. Talk to your HR team and ask them to come up with creative ways to make leaders understand the issue and how to work towards constructive solutions pertaining to the same.
Everyone is fighting a battle we don’t know, so why not make it easier for your employees and give them the safe space to address these issues. While mental health has been a matter of concern even before the pandemic, it is clearly a very important need of the hour to devise policies regarding these.